1) Snow. Dang it. I hate it! I wish it would snow on Christmas Eve and melt the day after Christmas. The rest of the time it can just be cold... Never mind. No snow, no cold. We can just install one of those snow machines in the sky so we get the same thrill of a Winter Wonderland without freezing to death, slipping and breaking bones and having to dig the car out of a 20 foot drift. God bless those of you who live down south. One Midwestern girl is infinitely jealous.
2) Stores. They seem to think Christmas starts in October and ends Christmas day. There are confused people in marketing. It's so long and aggressive it burns me out. You know how bad it's gotten? They made the Charlie Brown tree. You know, the cartoon? Charlie hates Christmas because he's a general misanthrope and because he feels it's overcommercialized. So in beautiful irony, he decorates this pathetic little tree and in breaking free from societies false representation of the "meaning of Christmas", he experiences true joy. Yippee, right? Well now they sell little copies of that tree. Little awful models that slander everything it stood for. Yes, I'm ranting. I was appalled.
3) Presents. "What do you want?" Oh how I loathe that question. I really don't want anything you can give me. I may like some stupid little thing or other, but want is not the right word. When I think want I think about people who have real wants. Needs. I want chocolate. Someone on the other side of the world WANTS clean water. He wants what he needs. No one should have to want that. Again, I'm ranting. Being an idealist. Spank me for wanting good to an unrealistic degree. Slightly better is gift giving. Yet this also finds a way to be difficult. I feel self imposed pressure to find the perfect thing for everyone. And when this thing does not appear, I lose the joy part in the "joy of giving". What needs to change there, I wonder? Lower standards? Am adjustment of perspective? (Stop giving gifts? Just kidding.)
4) Decorations. From trees to lights, wreaths and ornaments, garlands and the like, the world is decked out (inside and out) like no other this time of year. Tastefully done, I'm fine with it. I even kind of like it. Sparkly... who could complain? But tacky, overdone decor is truly horrid in red, green and flashy. It's always horrid, but for some reason, Christmas colors make it even worse.
5) Music. Oh I love music. And Christmas music, like most music, can be done one of two ways: well or not well. If you insist upon writing your own Christmas song, please, for heaven's sake, don't be cheesy about it. If you're just going to recycle phrases we've all heard a hundred times, over strain your vocal chords trying to croon or put it to a generally awful tune, do us a favor and skip it. And please note that the classics are called classics for a reason. You don't have to reinvent them.
6) Food. Cookies! I may have mentioned how I feel about cookies. There are loads of goodies this time of year to make the holidays worthwhi... I mean bright. The traditions revolving around food are perhaps my favorite. What can I say? I have a whole mouth of sweet teeth.
7) Family. Those relatives you never hear from any other time of the year send you a Christmas card updating you on their oh-so important (and until now, highly mysterious) lives. The family hash's out who all is coming and going where. People descend on the home of the poor host laden with gifts, food and more people. You're glad to have them... for a while. But few have enough patience to put up with their in laws for more than a few days.
8) Your Stress Level. Sky rocketing! And you thought fireworks were only for the 4th of July! To do lists, gift lists, a calender full of holiday related activities and people, places and things all demanding your attention! Exhilarating, isn't it? Until of course, you really do make like a firework and burn out.
9) Your House. This is the humble abode where all this Christmas cheer; the sounds, smells, sights and tastes of the holiday all collide into something best described as... chaos! Even if you aren't spending the actual holiday in your home, chances are you will be going to someone elses home where this takes place. Funny thing about the chaos is that it can also feel kind of cozy.
10) Your Heart. Whether your Christmas spirit quota is reminiscent of a burned out Christmas light (like mine) or a the whole dang tree, this is the place Christmas truly is. You can have the right music, the most tastefully done decor and all the perfect presents and be stressed and miserable. You can also have a wonderful Christmas without any of these things. Christmas is a holiday of the heart.
I hope you have a merry one.